Letter from Bereavement Services – Leicester City Council
16 March 2020
Dear Funeral Director,
Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus
I am writing to you to confirm Leicester City Council’s approach to managing Covid- 19 and how this affects burial and cremation services. May I firstly reassure you that we have plans in place for these types of situations and are meeting regularly with colleagues from the coroners and registration services, public health, UHL NHS Trust and other emergency services.
Our approach is guided by the Government’s guidance which is based on the latest scientific and medical advice. This means we are taking a phased approach to potentially different ways of working. This is being reviewed on a daily basis and may differ from other service providers. Our business continuity and pandemic plans are in place and these are being revised as the Government’s advice changes. I would encourage you to review your own business continuity plans in light of Covid-19. The purpose of these plans is to enable us to provide as normal a service as possible, for as long as possible, during this unprecedented and fast changing situation.
We have implemented enhanced cleaning regimes at Gilroes Crematorium and in our chapels, and the advice is to ensure staff and visitors follow Government guidance on good hygiene practices to reduce the risk of transmission. So far there are very few cases of Covid-19 in Leicester or Leicestershire, but it is almost inevitable that these will increase. The government and Public Health England will be publishing more guidance on managing Covid-19 in the funeral industry in the coming days.
I have asked the Local Resilience Forum, who coordinate multi-agency planning at a local level, to ensure they liaise with the funeral industry recognising the important part that funeral directors will play should we experience a surge in excess deaths. Please refer to the funeral trade associations for specific advice for funeral directors, particularly with regards to the care and handling of persons who have died from Covid-19.
Our plans will involve us moving to different ways of working as the situation develops, and we will inform you of these ahead of implementation, but may include restrictions on numbers attending funeral services and/or suspension of some non- critical activities i.e. memorial sales, pre-purchasing of graves. Furthermore, the Coroner and Registration Service will be providing updates with regards to potential different ways of working with respect to death certification and registration in the coming days.
Please do not hesitate to contact me directly should you have any questions. Yours faithfully,
Alan Brown MICCM (Dip) Bereavement Services Manager